April 2008

This Just In: My Coworkers Are Losing It

Exhibit A: The Mallo Cup. This candy of indistinct, dubious lineage was recently added to our subsidized vending machine.

Exhibit B: one of our programmers decided he really liked the concept of Mallo Cups. Not eating them, per se. He just liked them. A lot.

Exhibit C: another one of my coworkers has been angsty all day because he couldn’t actually kill a warlock. This may not strike you as unusual, until you realize that the warlock was AFK.

I think we need to start getting something out the door, or we’re all going to need therapy.

All’s Well That Ends

Debonneville v. Pierce to, unsurprisingly, settle out of court. Not much to add beyond Duranske’s note:

From a virtual law perspective, I’d been hoping against hope that these two charming gentlemen would continue knocking their heads together for another couple of months, and that the judge would accidentally say something meaningful about virtual property while trying to sort out their nonsense, but that doesn’t appear likely now.

Baby Jesus Cries

sl-congress.jpgYour tax dollars at work.

International financial markets are in turmoil, gas is pushing $4 a gallon and a recession looms. But don’t worry, folks: The House Energy and Commerce Committee is on the case.

Yesterday, in unwitting observance of April Fools’ Day, the telecommunications subcommittee held a hearing on “online virtual worlds” and the use of cartoon-like characters called avatars.

Surely this, one of the, if not THE first appearances of MMO/VWs before a Congressional committee, was newsworthy and serious.

[Chairman Edward] Markey looked across the room at a jumbo computer screen showing his cartoonish avatar, named EdMarkey Alter. “My avatar actually looks like he’s been working out,” Markey noted approvingly.

Surely, it wasn’t simply an excuse for a public relations exercise.

The lawmakers covered the potential downsides of virtual worlds (recruiting for terrorists, child pornography, human isolation) but much of the hearing served as an infomercial for Second Life. “Virtual worlds,” boasted Second Life founder Philip Rosedale, are “changing the nature of communication itself.” The chairman even allowed him to play a promotional video.

Surely, they had SOME LOGICAL REASON for all this.

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) told Markey her suspicion that “the real reason we’re here is so that you can get some pointers on how to get past the seventh level of the World of Warcraft.”

Oh, OK, then.

In case you aren’t already crying along with our infant lord and savior, Terra Nova has the entire thing available. I didn’t post about this yesterday, because, well. You know. No one would have believed it.